EPL: Tottenham Hotspur Buck Trend with Coaching Setup

Chris PotterCorrespondent IApril 21, 2010

Moments after Gareth Bale cooly slid the ball past Manuel Almunia and into the bottom corner of the Arsenal net to secure victory for Tottenham Hotspur over their local rivals, the TV camera panned to two former Spurs players who have played a supporting role in the success of the team in this season.

Les Ferdinand and Tim Sherwood, both fan favourites amongst the Spurs faithful last decade, were sharing a joke at Arsenal's expense.

Possibly, Tim Sherwood—appointed the club's technical coordinator this week—was reminiscing with Ferdinand about the early goal which he scored back in 1999 to help Spurs to their previous league victory over the Gunners.

Together with Ferdinand, Sherwood has been handed a remit to bridge the gap between management and players.

According to the the club's official website, Sherwood's new role is focused on "managing and coordinating player development across all squads, including the supervision and monitoring of loan placements, technical coaching and physical improvement."

Ferdinand's role is to mentor the squad's strikers, in particular Jermain Defoe, who, despite his abundance of talent, is sometimes accused of blowing hot and cold.

Under Juande Ramos, several players complained about the lack of communication at the club. Under predecessor Martin Jol, others suggested that they were outcast for no apparent reason.

Few can complain about the current regime. The results are self-explanatory and the players are brimming with confidence. Now, there is an all-British coaching staff which boasts considerable experience and know-how.

Reporting directly to Harry Redknapp are assistant managers Clive Allen, Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond.

Jordan is a former professional footballer with Leeds United, Manchester United and Milan and the only Scottish footballer to have played in three World Cups.

Bond has nearly forty years experience in football as a player and manager and worked under Redknapp at former clubs Portsmouth and Southampton, where he helped revive the fortunes of both South Coast clubs.

Stepney-born Allen, who scored 60 goals for Spurs in 105 appearances in the 1980s and played for no fewer than eight of the English capital's clubs, completes a management team which has more than 100 years experience in football.

While the exact definition of their roles is unclear to the public, Redknapp's team has found a formula for success.

Much of the tactics and formations are discussed between and formulated by this higher management tier, but Sherwood and Ferdinand's popularity should not be overlooked.

When appointing the former, Redknapp commente, "I like Tim—I think that Tim is very knowledgeable—great on the game."

If Sherwood is the brains behind the duo's success in striking up a rapport with the younger players, Ferdinand encourages and energizes, ensuring that the players remain level-headed and focussed on their role at the club.

Despite rumours that chairman Daniel Levy is pondering approaching outgoing Barcelona technical secretary, Txiki Beguiristain, in an ambitious effort to improve the flow of players from Tottenham's footballing academy to the first team, he will be loathe to overhaul a structure which seems to be reaping many benefits.

However, Levy cannot continue to invest as heavily in the first-team squad as he has since taking over the helm from Sir Alan Sugar.

Additionally, he will be keen to start seeing some immediate reward for the finances and resources he has diverted to the academy, who will shortly be moving into a new state-of-the-art training complex.

Although Beguiristain would not take up an identical role to that previously occupied by Frank Arnesen and Damien Comolli, who achieved only limited success, Levy would run the risk of upsetting manager Redknapp.

And despite the positive relationship he enjoyed at Portsmouth with then Sporting Director Avram Grant, he prefers to work in a traditional English management structure.  

As more and more chairmen look for wealthy foreign investors to inject millions into their club's infrastructure, stadia and playing squads, and international coaches to oversee a push for honours, top-flight English coaches seem to be on the verge of extinction.

Redknapp commented on this trend earlier this season, when asked about Carlo Ancelotti's appointment as Chelsea manager:

“Well, we are getting more foreign owners. They read about big names, great European players from the past and they are attracted by their reputation".

Yet, when the shortlist for Premier League Manager of the Year is announced shortly, there will be several worthy British candidates hoping to receive recognition, including Redknapp, Roy Hodgson, Alex McCleish, David Moyes and Tony Pulis. Ancelotti may be the only credible foreign alternative. 

Tottenham has dabbled in the past with foreign coaching experiments with disastrous effect, Martin Jol aside. Nobody can forget Ossie Ardiles' five-pronged attack, Christian Gross' one-way underground ticket to success, Jacques Santini's short sejour or Juande Ramos' communication issues.

It seems that, in the footballing world at least, the grass is not always greener on the other side.




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